If there’s one thing we should all really take care of, it has to be water.
We drink it to keep us alive and our bodies in the best possible shape. We use it for showers, cooking, watering plants and many other daily routines. So, how do we make sure something we depend so much on is healthy and good for us?
We’re lucky that local water treatment facilities in Australia are doing a great job when it comes to keeping water free of lead and other contaminants, but the fact that water leaves a purification plant completely safe doesn’t guarantee that it will reach our faucets in the same state.
What is the most common problem?
The issue with excessive amounts of lead in water is usually caused by the pipes, solder and other lead fixtures that water might get in contact with on its way to our homes. Even though there are now strict regulations about the type of material water pipes can be made of, there are still some old sections containing lead, which might damage the quality of water.
To deal with that problem, some local water departments add phosphate to prevent lead from leaching into the water, but that still can’t guarantee that the water will remain uncontaminated.
How do you know if there is lead in your water?
Unlike some other contaminants, lead doesn’t boast a noticeable odour and taste, which only makes it even more dangerous. So, if you want to check if there’s lead in your tap water, you have to have it tested by a certified laboratory. It should be easy to find one close to your home.
Another idea is to have the water at your office or your child’s school tested, as well, since you all spend hours every day there and are bound to get thirsty. Needless to say, it would be good to know if the quality of water there is satisfactory.
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Other ways to ensure good water quality
Just like there is no tolerable, i.e. safe level of lead, you should try to adopt a zero-tolerance policy to other factors that might affect the quality of water you and your family are drinking.
You might want to replace old water pipes that connect from the water main to your home if they contain lead. As they say, better safe than sorry and you most certainly don’t want to endanger the health of your family.
Let cold water run through your shower and other taps for up to five minutes in case you still haven’t managed to eliminate the source of lead or have a filtration system installed. Also, you can fill clean containers with such cold water to be used for cooking later.
If you’re uncertain about whether there is lead in your water, you’d better use cold water for cooking only, since hot tap water usually contains higher levels of lead.
Probably the best thing to do is to have a water filtration system installed. Go for one that has been approved by an independent certification body. Depending on the situation, you’ll probably have to choose between small-scale systems, such as a faucet-mounted filter or a pitcher, or large-scale ones, such as a reverse osmosis filter system, for instance.
However, before you rush to a store to buy a filtering system, make sure you’ve analysed your water, since different filtration methods are recommended for various types of contaminants and you need to know exactly what you’re up against in your struggle to provide the best possible water quality for your family.
Naturally, depending on your budget, there are many steps you can take to improve the quality of water at your home, but you should also make sure that the local authorities and/or the state government are doing everything they should when it comes to provision of safe drinking water, since it’s one of the basic human rights.
In case there’s a problem with the pipes because they are made of dangerous material or they contaminate water in any other way, you need to act quickly and raise concerns with the institutions in charge. Whatever the problems and available solutions, there’s just no excuse for not doing our best when it comes to providing clean, safe water to you and your family.
Have you had your water tested? Share with us in the comments.